What are the different ways of organising sockets?

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Four ways of organising your socket set are using; socket rails and clips, socket peg trays, foam inserts and plastic mouldings Keeping your sockets well organised and labelled will make finding the right one easier. There are four main ways of organising sockets: plastic mouldings, socket rails and clips, socket peg trays and foam inserts.

Socket rails and clips

Metal socket clips and rails, Plastic socket clips and rails Socket rails and clips are made of either chrome plated steel or plastic. Socket rails and clips allow sockets of the corresponding drive size to be stored securely.
Socket rails and clips make adding new sockets to an existing collection very easy Socket rails and clips allow you to easily add more sockets to your tool collection. This enables you to add new sockets as and when you need or can afford them.
Without any labelling stickers on chrome socket rails and clips it can be hard to keep your sockets in the correct order

Metal socket rails and clips

Socket rails and clips are made of chrome plated steel. The clip grips the inside of the sockets drive square socket holding it on the rail.

Advantages and disadvantages of ADVANTAGES   DISADVANTAGES
  • Less expensive than plastic rails and clips
  • Less likely to lose their grip of sockets over time
  • No size labels make it hard to find the socket you are looking for
By using colour coded socket rails it is easier to tell your metric sockets from imperial ones. Metric socket set on a blue socket rail, Imperial socket set on a red socket rail

Plastic socket rails and clips

By having two rails of different colours, it is easy to separate your metric and imperial sockets. This saves time when it comes to identifying which size of socket you need.

Plastic socket clips are available to hold ratchets and extension bars as well as sockets Another advantage of plastic socket rails and clips is that you can get special clips that will also hold socket accessories such as ratchets and extension bars.
Advantages and disadvantages of ADVANTAGES   DISADVANTAGES
  • Rattle less that metal clips when used to transport sockets in a vehicle
  • Can be colour coded for metric and imperial sets
  • Size labels for each clip help keep sockets in order
  • Special clips for socket accessories such as ratchets are available
  • More expensive than metal clips and rails
  • Grip on sockets may become loose over time if the plastic wears with frequent use
Magnetic socket rails attached to the side of a tool chest

Magnetic socket rails

Some socket rails have magnets on the back which allow them to stick to tool chests and other metal objects.

Check your tool box or chest is magnetic before purchasing magnetic socket rails If you plan on attaching the socket rail to the side of your tool chest, check that it is not made of aluminium first. As aluminium is not magnetic, a magnetic socket rail will not attach to it.

Foam inserts

Socket set with case that uses a foam insert to organise the sockets and accessories. Foam inserts can be purchased separately for use in toolboxes and chests, or supplied already fitted to some socket set cases.
Foam insert trays are ideally suited for use in the draws of tool boxes and chests fitted to vehicles as they hold the sockets firmly and don't allow them to rattle. The foam is cut to perfectly fit the sockets and other tools, so foam inserts are ideally suited for transporting tools in vehicles, as they provide a tight secure grip of the socket eliminating any movement or rattle.
Screwdriver bits secured and organised in a socket set case with a foam insert Foam inserts can also be used to store and organise screwdriver bits, and other socket accessories.

Plastic moulded trays

Plastic moulded socket cases can be bought seperately or integrated into the cases of a socket set. Socket case with plastic moulded trays moulded into it, Seperate plastic moulded insert trays for use in tool box and chest draws Plastic moulded trays can be either an integral part of a case, or purchased separately as insert trays for use in workshop drawers and toolboxes. Plastic moulded trays for storing sockets are made in the same way as plastic socket cases using injection moulding or vacuum forming. For more information see our page on  What are the different types of socket storage cases?.

Other methods of storing and labelling sockets

Socket peg trays are made from hard plastic and have the size of each socket marked on the top of each peg

Socket peg trays

Socket peg trays are made of hard, rigid plastic. They have a flat base, with vertical posts which the sockets are slid on to. Each post has the socket head size marked on it to help you identify and locate each socket.

Advantages and disadvantages of ADVANTAGES   DISADVANTAGES
  • Cheaper than socket rails
  • Sizes for each socket are marked on the pegs, making identification easier
  • Not suitable for transporting sockets in a vehicle
  • Cannot be mounted vertically on a wall as they do not grip the sockets
Socket tags are placed inside the socket head allowing clear identification of the socket size when viewed from above.

Socket tags

Socket tags fit inside the socket so that they are clearly visible when looking at the socket from above.

Advantages and disadvantages of ADVANTAGES   DISADVANTAGES
  • Clearly visible when looking into the socket head
  • Only suitable for sockets which are stored standing upright
  • Cannot be used to label socket bits as there is no female recess in the socket head to place them
Labelling stickers for sockets are available for imperial and metric as well as in-hex sockets

Labelling stickers

Labelling stickers are available, and have a strong adhesive backing so they can be stuck to the outside of a socket or anywhere else you may want to label, such as the underside of a socket rail or the plastic of a moulded tray. Unlike socket tags, labelling stickers can be used to label socket bits as well.